Raising the Athletic Fee

Nikki Pignone

Ipswich High School is looking at significant budget cuts for the 2015-2016 school year. Some of these cuts include cutting staff members, classes, resources and extra curricular activities and reducing varsity coaching salaries by around 50%.  These cuts will have effects on every student at Ipswich High School in some way shape or form, specifically raising the athletic fee. Currently student athletes are required to pay $650 a year as an individual or $900 per family if multiple children from one family wish to participate in sports. Forcing families to pay more can be troublesome for teams and families. There was talk of raising the fee by $200; if this was to go through, the athletic department would be asking families to pay over $1000 for their children to be able to play a sport. This change will result in challenges for families and teams in the town of Ipswich.

Every family is different and has different annual incomes; one family may be able to afford paying $1100 for two of their children to play a sport.  Another family may struggle to pay even the current $650 for one child to play. Adding $200 to that can force families into situations they dread. Although there is the possibility of a fee waiver, some people are too embarrassed to admit they are in such a situation and that they need that help, which can result in that athlete being unable to participate. In some rare cases, not being able to play your sport can jeopardize the chance of being recruited to play in college and the chance of receiving scholarships for more serious athletes.

Raising the athletic user fee will also have an impact on most, if not all, sports teams at Ipswich High School. If families are unable to pay the fee and wish to not apply for a fee waiver, it can mean the athlete does not play. This can have a negative effect on teams in many ways. If this was the case for multiple families in the program, it could bring the number of players on the roster down. With less players there will be less substitutes for games and limits to the types of drills you can execute and lower the quality of the practice.

From personal experience, I have noticed a trend of teams with low numbers having more losing records than those with full rosters. Teams can be hurt if their more talented players are affected by the higher cost as well, teams will suffer from losing skill. Junior Savanna Hill, who is on the field hockey and swim team, says “fewer players would be able to afford to be on the team, and the teams won’t be as good,” when asked about the possible fee raise. Sophomore Sydney Pignone, who is also on the field hockey and swim team as well as outdoor track,  says “for a varsity sport you are not guaranteed playing time, so basically you could be asking a family to pay around $1000 for their kids to sit on the bench and watch others get their money’s worth.” She also says that playing high school sports is an experience I feel every student should have the opportunity to take part in. It’s encouraged by teachers and other high school staff, so why does it make sense to raise the price and make it difficult for families to give their kids that chance?”photo